The Boston Red Sox are threatening to boycott their season-opening games in Japan unless their coaches and other staff are paid for making the trip.
Mike Lowell has told The Boston Globe the team voted unanimously not to take the field for their final spring training game or to board the plane later Wednesday for Japan.Manager Terry Francona and his players were upset after learning staff members are not going to get a $40,000 stipend. The Boston Herald reported players insisted part of their agreement to make the trip included the fee -- for them and the coaches.
"I did not have an off day yesterday. I had the phone glued to my ear because I was promised some answers and I haven't even received a phone call," Francona said Wednesday. "So I'm a little bit stuck. What I want to do this morning is get excited to play a baseball game and what I ended up doing is apologizing to the coaches and being humiliated."
The World Series champions are scheduled to begin their season against Oakland on March 25 and 26.
The Red Sox clubhouse was closed to reporters because of the dispute and the team had not taken the field for batting practice before its last scheduled spring training game in Florida against Toronto.
"We had an agreement," Curt Schilling, one of a handful of Red Sox players who talked with Major League Baseball on ground rules for the trip, told ESPN's Claire Smith.
"Some of the promises have already been taken away, now this," Schilling said. "As far as the players are concerned, [withholding the coaches' bonuses] can't happen."
''When we voted to go to Japan, that was not a unanimous vote,'' Lowell told the Globe, "but we did what our team wanted us to do for Major League Baseball. They promised us the moon and the stars, and then when we committed, they started pulling back. It's not just the coaches, it's the staff, the trainers, a lot of people are affected by this.
"I'm so super proud of this team," Lowell said, according to the Globe. "When we put it to a vote it was unanimous, we're all in agreement that we're not going to put up with this.''
That the players would consider such action "is really appreciated, to say the least," Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan told Smith. "It means as much as the money itself.
"While we're very fortunate, a lot of people don't realize what we do. It's nice to get recognition from the players."
The people who run MLB are unbelievably dumb if they thought this was not going to cause so much trouble